Thoughts and reflections

Category: Holy Land

The walk to Golgotha

Golgotha in 2015

And yet… they took Jesus and he walked carrying the heavy cross through Jerusalem and the Via Delarosa and on the hill of Golgotha they crucified him.

As we face depths of despair in our lives let us walk on in faith knowing that the story does not end in death but in resurrection.

In our world we pray for those who will face violence today, who will face death. Keep them strong and brave and let the Son shine in their lives today.

Amen   Rev’d Sue Martin

Read more in Prayers for Lent

Water – Life Giving

Source of River Jordan

Source of the River Jordan Caesarea Philippi

I received a leaflet this week with my Church Times, called Water; The Truth from WaterAid. On the front cover was a picture of a child full of smiles under a shower tap and  breaking news, that for the first time in history 9 out of 10 people in the world have clean water!

How astonishing that is and we give thanks to all those who have made that possible.

I live in a country where the thought of not having clean water to drink is impossible. But not everywhere in the world has this necessity. Good news indeed that 9 out of 10m people now have clean water.

The image is of the spring of the River Jordan, where water flows effervescently and pure. Water is life giving, but so much more than that. It is the sign for us all that we need to be given that spirit from God, through Jesus. That life-giving water. When we thirst for something and are not sure what we need, it is that need  to be quenched and full of God’s word and support.

Jesus is living water for a thirsty world.

More in Sermon for 1st Sunday in Lent 2021

Rev’d Sue Martin

Caesarea Philippi

‘On this rock, I will build my church’  Matthew 16,v 17.

Caesarea Philippi is a peaceful place; it is the source of the River Jordan and the rushing streams are clear and pure as they descend from the rocks. It is a true joy to put your hand in this water and feel so refreshed. It is close to the Golan Heights and Syria and not far from the Sea of Galilee.

This beautiful place has springs which are invitingly clear with clean water rushing through toward the Jordan. The old cave and temples of ancient pagan worshippers was the site where Jesus came with his disciples as a turning point in Jesus ministry. He was heading to Jerusalem and Jesus needed to know that his disciples were with him. He asked Peter there if he would look after his church.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church.

And we have our own life plans, not known to us until we have walked some of that journey. Day by day they become clear and as we all journey along that path we know that Jesus and God are with us, before us, behind us, at our side and above us, carrying us when we need that help.

And so on our journeys let us use the gifts that God has given us.

Read more in Sermons 2020

Rev’d Sue Martin

On this day…

Six weeks ago I was one of a number of pilgrims from Norwich Diocese on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We stopped in the Garden of Gethsemane and looked over the valley to Jerusalem. We visited the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest where Jesus spent the night in his dungeons. It was a dark and dismal place.

Today is Maundy Thursday, and amazing that we are all, in some ways contained in our own houses with the Corona virus pandemic.

We hope soon to be able to journey away from our homes and get back to some kind of normality, whatever that will look like, but I strongly suspect that for so many of us life will not be the same again.

The events of the crucifixion and Easter happened over 2000 years ago. Jesus lived among us and died for us. Life can change for us all, His resurrection meant that life would never be  the same again.


Rev’d Sue Martin

Places and travels

At the end of my travels to the Holy Land we found these beautiful anemones at Abu Gosh, the site of Emmaus.

But lets start with the travels of Jesus. His own pilgrimage, in a sense, places he walked to, he didn’t have a coach or a car or a bike. He  used a donkey from time to time, but generally he walked. Places where he performed miracles, gathered his disciples, went into the wilderness, and places where he met with God. Travels in the wilderness, travels into towns and villages.

In our own pilgrimage to the Holy Land 2020, we followed in his footsteps and walked in his ways. And now challenged to bring back to others the sights, the sounds and the knowledge we have gained.

Sermon for 3rd Sunday in Lent follows our journey and also relates to the Samaritan woman at the well; John 4: 5-42.

Rev’d Sue Martin

Holy Land Pilgrimage 2020 – Thoughts and Experiences

We arrived back in the UK from the pilgrimage with the Norwich Diocese on March 2nd, pilgrims together, full of thoughts and experiences that would stay with us forever. For many it was the first and possibly only visit to the Holy Land, and incredibly special. My second visit and still a deeply significant place of holiness… The Holy Land.

Where did we go?  Walkabout Jerusalem 2020 Blog has all the places we visited. We travelled to Galilee, Jericho, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, with each day packed with places and services.

Forever in my mind will be the Sea of Galilee, The Dead Sea, and the roads to Jericho and Jerusalem. But I would also never be able to forget Bethlehem, the wall and manger Square, the River Jordan, the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

A special thank you to Hanna, our guide, The Very Reverend Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich Cathedral and The Right Reverend Jonathan Meyrich, Bishop of Lynn, Diocese of Norwich and Pilgrimage People.

Rev’d Sue Martin

Visit to The Holy Land in Lent 2020

As the winter continues I am delighted that I am about to embark on my second visit to the Holy Land. We arrive at the Sea of Galilee on February 24th and  have a full itinerary for the week including;  Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho and the Dead Sea.

Really excited to be not just revisiting but re-energising my understanding of the life of Jesus, visiting the same places and walking in his footsteps. Spiritually it will touch my soul, physically  it will give me great hope as I visit further places in my pilgrimages and travel journeys. The Dead Sea has been a place I have wanted to visit since I learnt about it at school.

Physically,the whole region is set on the edge of the Mediterranean and Europe and the edge of the Middle East and Africa. Never a very settled area of the world. The Dead Sea is at the end of the deepest valley in the world, with the River Jordan flowing through this rift valley.

So, now to start planning the next Blog  for the journey ahead.

Rev’d Sue Martin


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